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The appeal of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been gaining steam. During the second quarter of 2021, NFT sales jumped to US$2.5 billion from US$13.7 million in the first half of last year, Reuters reported. The number of buyers for NFTs has increased to between 10k to 20k per week since March, Reuters added, surpassing the number of sellers. Despite first surfacing in late 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal, NFTs have also caught the eye of several brands, with companies including P&G, Taco Bell, Hotel Jen as well as publications such as TIME Magazine, Vogue, and Esquire. The NFT train does not seem to be slowing down and more brands have also jumped on the bandwagon. Here are the list of brands that have expanded into the NFT scene recently.
(Read also: Analysis: What exactly are NFTs and why it's relevant to marketing)
Asics unveiled its Asics Sunrise Red NFT collection a first-of-its-kind footwear release that will be available via digital auction beginning today. This is the start of a new venture for Asics as it moves into the world of NFTs and auction proceeds will be reinvested back into the digital arts community through Asics' new Digital Goods Artist-In-Residence Programme. As part of the programme, the brand will collaborate with both established and emerging digital artists to design the next wave of NFTs.
Nine shoes will be featured in a limited-edition release made up of 20 NFTs per shoe, and a gold edition release featuring each shoe in a metallic gold colourway with just one NFT per shoe. Asics Running Apps' head of business development, Joe Pace, said while it is excited to drop the world's first digital shoe release from a major sporting goods company, this is only the beginning.
Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser has entered the NFT scene in partnership with VaynerNFT. The partnership, which kicks off with immediate effect, aims to maximise iconic brand assets, including ambassadors, sponsorship assets, F&B assets, as well as merchandise and product. Work is expected to be launched in the second half of the year.
VaynerNFT is led by Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman of VaynerX and Avery Akkineni as president, who was also most recently head of VaynerMedia Asia Pacific. Budweiser has been a VaynerMedia client for nearly a decade. Hence, when selecting clients to launch VaynerNFT, Vaynerchuk considered his key long-term relationships first, and immediately thought of Budweiser. Richard Oppy, head of global brands, AB InBev, said it is always looking for new ways to innovate and provide the best experience for consumers. "Our partnership with VaynerNFT, which has been built on nearly a decade of creative collaboration between AB InBev and VaynerX, is designed for long-term brand building around successful NFT programs," he added.
Carl's Jr. and Hardees
Last month, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's tied up with actress and supermodel Charlotte Mckinney for their first-ever NFT. Featuring one of Mckinney's famed All-Natural Burger bite shots from a 2015 advertising campaign, the NFT was created by female artist, Grace Casas. All net proceeds from the sale went towards The Simon Foundation for Continence, a nonprofit whose mission it is to provide help and hope for individuals with incontinence.
As Carl's Jr. celebrates 80 years in the quick service restaurant space this month, the brands said in a release previously that the partnership signalled their "final goodbye" to a more risqué advertising past.
Patty Trevino, SVP of brand marketing at CKE Restaurants, said Mckinney is an integral part of one of its most storied advertising moments and is now stepping into the crypto-culture. "Working with her to auction off our first NFT is the ultimate way to turn the page and move forward from campaigns of our past, while still maintaining our provocative style of doing things," Trevino said. According to the brand, McKinney's 2015 Super Bowl advertisement generated nearly 2.5 billion media impressions and 9.5 million YouTube views in just two weeks.
Russell Simmons and Tokau
Music producer Russell Simmons has collaborated with Tokau to exclusively launch an NFT collection, Masterminds of Hip Hop. The joint venture aims to bring honour, credit and compensation back to the original musicians who helped create the multi-billion dollar industry that it is today. The Tokau project is an NFT-generalised web actress development game based on the IP resources of popular Japanese actresses.
Following the next few weeks, the joint venture will be releasing names of the original pioneers who have joined the programme, with the first group being DJ Hollywood, Grandmaster Caz, MC Lyte, and Busy Bee. According to the press statement, these individuals are among the most important and influential pioneers of old school rap.
The collection series brings an insight into the history and roots of hip hop, giving exclusive behind the scene stories and memories from the early years of hip-hop that helped form the foundation of the culture, in the form of digital art collectables.
Twitter is giving away 140 free NFTs on third-party platform Rarible, which specialises in buying and selling digital assets. The company posted seven different NFTs last month and among them was its iconic blue bird icon.
In a publicity push for its upcoming animated film Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. tied up with social NFT platform, Niftys.com, to launch a collection of limited-edition NFTs featuring characters from the film. They include basketball player LeBron James and eight characters from the Looney Tunes "Tune Squad". According to the press statement, this is one of the first major motion pictures to employ the digital collectible technology.
Warner Bros. will award one limited-edition NFT to each individual who registers on Nifty's and visits the Space Jam: A New Legacy gallery to claim it, while supplies last. A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE found that the collection has since sold out.
Pam Lifford, president of Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, said it is excited to partner with NIfty's on this new way for its audiences to engage with their favourite characters, connect with other fans and enjoy its movies on and off screen.
Vogue and Esquire publisher partners video tech firm to launch NFT platform
Hotel JEN jumps on NFT hype with regional giveaway of Bruce Lee art via Instagram
Analysis: What exactly are NFTs and why it's relevant to marketing